Dwyer Proves He's No Passing Fancy





KANSAS CITY Lefthander Chris Dwyer could have been a college quarterback.
Dwyer passed for more than 5,100 yards and 58 touchdowns, and rushed for 21 more, and led Salisbury (Conn.) High to a 38-2 record in four years.

Instead, Dwyer chose baseball. The Yankees made him a 36th-round pick in 2008, but he did not sign, opting instead to go to Clemson, where he was draft-eligible after his freshman season because he was 21. The Royals selected him in the fourth round in 2009 and gave him a $1.45 million bonus, which was a record for a fourth-round pick.

"I just played football in the fall," Dwyer said. "I never went after it as far as camps and stuff. I always knew this was probably my future because obviously I throw lefthanded and played baseball my whole life."

Dwyer began last season with high Class A Wilmington and went 6-3, 2.99 with 93 strikeouts and 33 walks in 84 innings. He earned a promotion to Double-A Northwest Arkansas, where he went 2-1, 3.06 in four starts with 20 strikeouts and 10 walks in 18 innings. In his fourth start, he walked four and gave up a home run in just two-thirds of an inning before leaving with what proved to be a season-ending back injury.

"I strained my lower back and took some time off," Dwyer said. "It feels good now. Everything is good."

Dwyer has a 90-94 mph fastball and a curveball that baffles hitters. He also has a changeup that needs to improve. He will likely start the season back in the Texas League, but if he remains healthy, he could join the Royals rotation by the end of the season.

ROYALITIES

• Kansas City hired former Royals big leaguer Willie Aikens as a roving minor league instructor. Aikens, 56, spent 14 years in prison for distributing cocaine before being released in 2008.

• The Royals signed 18-year-old Dominican righthander Darwin Castillo for $300,000.